Washback effects and cognitive demand analysis of homework practice in Home Economics



Byrne F, McSweeney K & Gardner J (2016) Washback effects and cognitive demand analysis of homework practice in Home Economics. International Journal of Home Economics, 9 (1), pp. 3-19.

The focus of this paper is an examinatfon of the learning value of homework understood from the perspective of teachers in relation to their homework practice alongside a cognitive demand analysis of different types of assigned homework. A mixed method approach was used involving interviews with ten Home Economics teachers and content analyses of over 400 homework questions and tasks from Home Economics textbooks, examination papers and teachers' assigned homework. The results indicate that, in the main, Home Economics homework questions demand the recall and understanding of conceptual and factual knowledge, thus reducing the capacity for the development of higher order thinking skills. In addition, there is evidence of a 'washback' effect on pedagogy in which teachers tend to concentrate their teaching on supporting test-taking. Such a situation bodes ill for the quality of student learning and points to a clear need for teacher professional development in the area of assessment design.

Homework; assessment design; higher order thinking skills; washback;Home Economics

International Journal of Home Economics: Volume 9, Issue 1

Publication date31/01/2016
Date accepted by journal01/01/2016
PublisherInternational Federation for Home Economics
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Professor John Gardner
Professor John Gardner

Professor, Education